The Innovation Engine
Innovation is known to fuel organizational growth, to drive future success, and is the engine that allows businesses to sustain their viability in a global economy. Both managers and researchers regard innovation as a ‘life-and-death matter for a firm’, in which the constant need of fighting for survival and the threat of competition encourage firms to innovate. Business and management research clearly indicate that organizations with innovative capacity can respond to environmental change quicker and can perform better than non-innovative organizations. Innovation cannot be external to the organization. For companies to succeed by innovation, its not enough to come up with great ideas that can change your market. The organization as a whole must be ready to absorb innovation.
Looking at case studies such as Apple and Google – we don’t see only good ideas and charismatic leaders – innovative companies are built into shared innovation mindset. Teams are working together on new solutions that were not tested before (that means more hard work and less replication). Managers involve the entire staff (down to the admin assistant), where you see a collective interest and care for the project. Lesson learning on successful projects is shared across departments and regions, side by side with insights on the projects that failed. At last, innovative ideas are surely essential but most of them tend to fail. A good selection criteria and ongoing managerial support are vital to ensure execution.
Working with large corporates that acknowledge the importance of innovation, we’ve learned that innovation, which is carried by visions, slogans, or professional titles, cannot achieve a real innovation change. In order to help organizations innovate TrendsSpotting has collected insights from primary research conducted on leading companies as well as start up companies, reviewed academic research together with practical business research and analyzed variety of case studies to come up with core parameters of best practices that are vital for the implementation of innovation in organizations. What’s needed to fuel the innovation engine? Working with companies on innovation implementation, we’ve learned that efforts should be invested in setting an innovation culture throughout the organization before investing efforts in innovative breakthrough ideas.
One of the major insights we’ve gained is that innovation can be effectively implemented across the organization once actual innovation projects are supported by Innovation methodologies. Optimal organizational innovation requires translating the business strategy into an overall organizational strategy, with proper mechanisms to ensure successful innovation performance when introducing new commercialized products to the market. For implementing innovation in the organization, leaders must take part and show active involvement. Individuals in all levels should be encouraged by top managers to think independently and creatively, and share their personal knowledge with others. To innovate, companies need to ensure a culture that supports new ideas and encourages new ways of “doing business” while putting efforts from the early start on optimal execution.
TrendsSpotting’s Innovation Implementation Methodology
To effectively implement innovation, TrendsSpotting has defined a set of core functions and processes that are vital for organizational innovation. Shared perceptions regarding innovation, human efforts engaged in innovation processes, tools and platform utilized, and structured innovation intervention processes are presented. Those are used to examine organizational innovation readiness.
Shared perceptions regarding innovation
- Innovation as a strategic priority (benefits and opportunities)
- Innovation serves for a competitive advantage
- Innovation requirements are clearly defined
- Initiating innovation and supporting it are defined as desired traits, which are acknowledged and rewarded
Human efforts invested in innovation:
- Leadership commitment Vision: Well communicated, clear strategic vision and goals
- Innovation dedicated leaders: innovation personas setting motivations and inspirations
- Engaged employees that care to promote innovation processes and outcomes
- Cross organization employee involvement (cross departments and roles)
- Innovation agents and external partners are involved in innovation activities
Tools and platforms
- Inspirational tools and creative settings
- Innovation learning tools
- Internal innovation communication channels / platforms
- Innovation performance metrics (measurements and follow-ups for improvement)
- Innovation incentives and rewards
Structuring the innovation intervention process
TrendsSpotting proposes a defined process for innovation implementation:
- Identification of worthy innovation challenges (incremental and disruptive): portfolio balance, short and long term expectations, risk and success assessment.
- Identification of innovation obstacles for specific projects
- Managerial involvement and support
- Wide collaboration teams (diversity of roles, departments, sectors, regions)
- Supporting the process through the 4 stages: Ideation – selection – development and commercialization
- Initiation of innovation projects (communication efforts are included)
- Agile project management (execution planned and emphasized from the early start)
- Re-examining innovation projects (updating risk and benefits)
- Lesson learning
- Communication of shared innovation experiences (successful projects as well as failed ones)
Here is a short presentation on TrendsSpotting’s Innovation Assessment Methodology and research tools, including TrendsSpotting’s Employee Innovation Survey.
2016 Update! New TrendsSpotting Innovation Reports
TrendsSpotting has complied two Innovation Research Reports exploring theories, models and practical implementation of innovation in business settings and inside the organization.